Reality Stars Share Their Hopes of Joining ‘The Traitors’ Cast

The American version of the reality game show “The Traitors,” after the release of its first season on Peacock last year, won an Emmy Award for its casting.The debut season of the whodunit-style competition, in which contestants are eliminated by banishment or by being “murdered,” featured a cast of reality stars and less famous people like nurses and sales executives. For its second season, which ended in March, the cast was reconfigured to include mostly people from reality shows like “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “The Bachelor,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Real Housewives,” “Below Deck,” “Shahs of Sunset,” “Bling Empire,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “The Challenge.”In the days after Season 2 premiered in January, “The Traitors” became the most viewed unscripted series in the country on streaming platforms, according to Nielsen statistics. A third season was greenlit in February.As interest in “The Traitors” has intensified, former reality stars — along with other people with some degree of celebrity — have been clamoring for a chance to appear on the show set at a Scottish castle, hosted by Alan Cumming and offering a prize of up to $250,000. (The American version, like its British, Canadian, Greek and Australian counterparts, is a spinoff of a show originally produced in the Netherlands.)“I would assume that a lot of people who have managers and agents are sending out the emails to ‘Traitors’ casting and production trying to get their foot in the door,” said Jemmye Carroll, 35, who, after appearing on “The Real World: New Orleans” in 2010, went on to join the casts of several seasons of “The Challenge.”“I’m using my one resource, which is Trishelle,” she continued, referring to Trishelle Cannatella, a winner of “The Traitors” Season 2 and another cast member of the “Real World” and “Challenge” franchises. Both women live in New Orleans and when they have run into each other around town, Ms. Carroll said, she has encouraged Ms. Cannatella to put in a good word for her with the production staff of “The Traitors.”“I think she’s the best resource because she’s the reigning queen of the castle,” Ms. Carroll said.Rob Cesternino, who was on two seasons of “Survivor” (“The Amazon” in 2003 and “All-Stars” in 2004), said the buzz surrounding “The Traitors” has made the possibility of appearing on it alluring to many reality stars — himself included — whom he described as “moths to a flame.”“I would definitely go on ‘The Traitors’ if I was asked,” said Mr. Cesternino, who lives outside Raleigh, N.C., and hosts a podcast that focuses on reality television, called “Rob Has a Podcast.”“The first rule of being a reality TV star is keep doing more reality TV shows,” Mr. Cesternino, 45, said. “‘Traitors’ opens up a whole avenue to reality stars,” he continued, describing the show as bringing together “the multiverse of reality TV.” Stars from that genre, he said, see it as a way to extend or revive their careers.“That’s a really big selling point,” Mr. Cesternino said.Danny Roberts, 46, who appeared on “The Real World: New Orleans” in 2000 and on its Paramount+ spinoff, “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans,” in 2022, has also recently been “having some strategic conversations” about how to get cast on “The Traitors,” he said.Mr. Roberts, now a recruitment consultant in Grafton, Vt., compared getting a call from the show’s producers to buying a winning lottery ticket, adding that he was interested not just in being on TV, but also in playing the game.“I think it would also be a cool piece of escapism,” Mr. Roberts said, “with a fascinating psychological component to it.”His “Real World” and “Real World Homecoming” co-star Melissa Beck, 47, said she would love to receive an offer to join the cast, too — not least because contestants, in addition to being eligible to win a six-figure cash prize, are also paid to appear on the show.“It would revive your ability to get a check, the time commitment is fantastic, the prize pot is pretty cute, I bet the appearance fee is cool,” Ms. Beck, who lives on Long Island, said. “And it doesn’t hurt that it has an Emmy.”While many of the notable contestants on the American version of “The Traitors” have appeared on reality TV, its casts have also included members who became famous for other reasons. Ryan Lochte, the gold medalist Olympic swimmer, appeared on Season 1, and Deontay Wilder, a professional boxer, was on Season 2.As the show’s profile has risen, some famous fans from outside the world of reality TV, like the comedian Matt Rogers, have also made no secret of their aspirations to be noticed by producers.Mr. Rogers, on a 2023 episode of “Las Culturistas,” the pop-culture podcast he hosts with the “Saturday Night Live” star Bowen Yang, said he would jokingly talk about wanting to be on “Survivor,” but was genuinely interested in appearing on “The Traitors.” “I really want to be on,” he said on the podcast. (Mr. Rogers, through a representative, declined to comment for this article.)Mike Cotton, an executive producer of the show’s American and British versions, said the American spinoff’s success largely hinged on the curation of its casts, a process he described as having the precision and seriousness of a jury selection.Mr. Cotton declined to comment on specific details about casting the show’s third season, including whether offers had been made, a timeline for such offers or how much cast members will be paid.But he said the general approach to casting was about finding a dynamic mix of people.“You want people from all walks of life that are going to bring their own unique skills to it,” he said. “You want people who are big competitors, you want people who are cutthroat, you want people who are master manipulators, people who are deep thinkers, people who will sit back and watch and listen. And I think the idea is that they’ll all bring their unique skills, and I think that’s why we have such a mix of people.”

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